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Full text of "Verdict On India"

POMP AND  CIRCUMSTANCE                                  2?
had quite long conversation with woman selling betel nut__
She told me Hindi for "to-morrow" is kahl, asked her Hindi for
"yesterday'9 and she said that was kahl too.. .incredible as it
may sound chis is apparently true.. .feel there is probably some
deep psychological meaning behind this but far too tired to
unravel it at the moment/
However, apart from this disjointed scribbling there was
something else which I wrote that night—namely, a. straight-
forward piece of journalism describing some of the more pictures-
que details of the Viceregal entourage. It was an ordinary,
competent piece of reporting, whose only merit was—(I hope)—
that it was easy to read and was reasonably well-mannered.
This article was the cause of shock number four. As soon as it
was cabled back to India, after its English publication, it created
an uproar. Garbled versions appeared on the front pages under
scare head-lines; leader writers tipped their pens with their
bitterest acid. I was later to discover that this was the invariable
reception accorded to the most modest and banal generalizations ;
one murmured a platitude and caused an explosion. At the time,
however, the uproar was startling.
What was the cause of all the trouble ? It lay in a couple of"
paragraphs in. which I suggested that the splendour of the Vice-
regal setting was right and fitting, that it accorded with Indians
history and that anything on a more modest scale would be not
only inadequate but artificial. After all, Indian, history, until the
arrival of the British, was a record of unbridled despotism ; India
had always been a land of glittering palaces, surrounded by masses
of human, antheaps; there was never any middle class, and no
breath of democracy had ever stirred the Indian dust until we
came. We were changing all that, and the change was gathering
momentum every day. In the meantime, nobody but the most
purblind nationalist could claim that India, as a whole, was a
modern eouutrjr. Some of it was still in a period corresponding to
that of Peter the Great; some of it was Elizabethan ; some of it
was unashamedly medieval; it wes9 in fact, a whole bunch of
historical anachronisms.
6An attempt at ^WJiite House Simplicity"*—so ran the last
paragraph—'would be a piece of ludicrous affectation   The Hindus-